Fractal Music

Music Theory Background


The method of defining pitch values in terms of simple ratios is referred to as just temperament. Using just temperament, however, means that not all intervals of the same type actually sound the same.

For instance, the notes C, D, and E are all separated by a whole step. However, the chart below shows that the ratios representing these identical whole steps are, in fact different.

This inequality of intervallic relationships presents intonation problems when attempting to perform compositions that are based on scales generated from different starting notes.

The modern method for dividing the octave into 12 equal parts is to set the semitone equal to 21/12 times the frequency preceding it. This is referred to as equal temperament.

Because the distance between notes is logarithmically uniform, this method allows composers and musicians to use all scales with equal ease.

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